Do you remember when you’d go to see your bank teller? Perhaps not. The traditional customer relationship in a bank has moved quickly from human to ATM to website. Customers are now more likely to try and speak to a chatbot or find their own answers online than they are speak to someone who actually works at a bank.
The human touch has almost entirely gone.
But artificial intelligence (AI) in banking is changing all that. Banks no longer have to choose between scalable and low-cost digital channels and highly engaging human customer service; they can have both with a digital human.
UneeQ has integrated custom AI-powered brand ambassadors into global banks. These ambassadors recreate the best aspects of human interaction—tone, conversation and expression—to drive emotional connection and all the benefits that come with it.
And the best part? You won’t have to scrap your chatbot or cause upheaval to your website. Not when AI platforms and chatbots can work in unison.
Here’s all you need to know about the past, present and future of digital humans, chatbots and AI banking.
How is artificial intelligence used in banking?
Arguably the most pivotal way AI is being used in the banking sector is in customer service, transforming how the everyday customer interacts with their bank, while keeping the cost to serve manageable.
The “intelligent” part of AI means communication can be sophisticated enough to help most customers with their enquiries, much like a human customer service rep would, while the “artificial” portion supplies scalability and lower costs.
The most obvious modern example of this can be found in the best banking chatbots, whose sophistication in natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language processing (NLP) make them particularly clever.
How can AI chatbots help banks?
Chatbot automation in banking has been found to dramatically reduce the cost of customer service, particularly over traditional call centers.
Chatbots have cut customer service charges by some 30%, according to IBM, while being sophisticated enough to answer up to 80% of queries a customer has.
When you consider the price of picking up the phone in your average call centre is between $35 to $50, AI banking chatbots are doing a good job at cost control – but, in truth, that’s about all they can do.
How to improve AI banking chatbots?
We know, then, that banking chatbots are fast and cheap. But the tradeoff is: they’re just not very engaging.
Only 29% of baby boomers and 33% of millennials say chatbots are “friendly and approachable”, according to the 2018 State of Chatbots Report. Which are two characteristics you’d hope your former bank teller would have in spades, though chatbots are struggling to provide any real semblance of it.
Overall, only 38% of older generations say chatbots offer even a “good” customer experience; and among typically tech-savvy millennials, less than half (45%) would say the same.
Even if “good” is what you aim for, chatbots don’t provide it in most people’s eyes.
So, how do you improve your bank’s AI chatbot?
Digital humans in banking: the next logical step
Humans are the best possible representations of your bank’s brand. When hired well, your people greet your customers with a smile, build rapport and, yes, are “friendly and approachable”.
These are all traits that are inherent in digital humans.
As people (not just customers) we’re hard-wired for face-to-face communication, and we build emotional bonds with those we communicate with. Nothing beats a real human for that, but digital humans come close, while providing some unique benefits of their own.
Digital humans are:
- Constantly available for customers, accessible via the web or a physical in-store kiosk, so can live across various customer touchpoints and provide a consistent service.
- Able to communicate not just in voice but through tone of voice and body language, making for a more complete experience than banking chatbots.
- Scalable to the Nth degree. Virtually every customer can speak to a digital human at once.
- Complete embodiments of the bank’s brand. Everything from their looks to voice to personality and the clothes they wear can be brand-aligned. Plus, they’ll never have a bad day, react poorly nor be late for work.
- Non-judgemental, meaning customers may be more likely to reach out for help, particularly with questions they feel “silly” asking around their finances. For the true value of this, you only need to look up the financial illiteracy statistics in your area.
- Cost effective – they’re a digital technology afterall, similar to chatbots, and operate with a similar cost to serve with a tiered price-per-minute bundle.
The future of AI chatbots and digital humans in banking
Gartner predicts that this decade will see some 85% of customer interactions going digital. A mere 15% of all the interactions customers have with a brand will be through human.
And that’s because the human touch was never scalable, until digital humans came along.
UneeQ has been pioneering digital humans around the world. In fact, you can see our work in our AI in banking case studies.
But the rise of digital humans doesn’t mean the end for your chatbot – all that work is certainly not all lost. In fact, a chatbot’s NLP is a great foundation on which to base a digital human’s conversational AI capabilities.
In this way, a digital human can be a significant upgrade on a chatbot platform, providing the benefits of human-like connection while retaining the benefits of a great banking chatbot platform– and UneeQ’s digital human API works with any chatbot out there.
So, what else could the future hold for banking chatbots and digital humans in the near future? Allow us to put some ideas forward.
Potential use cases for digital humans beyond chatbots in banking
The capabilities of advanced chatbots are only getting better, and will likely provide a faster and cheaper form of customer service for banks who use them well. Though when combined with a digital human layer to drive emotional connection, the potential to finally put the human touch back into banking becomes tantalizing.
How? Well, just imagine what’s possible:
#1. Application help
If users are filling out an online application form, a digital human can guide them through the process, step by step, helping to reduce the number of customers who churn part way through their application out of confusion or irritation at a lack of help.
#2. Constant financial education
They say an investment in education pays the best interest. So when a digital human can explain financial terms to customers using natural conversation, whenever and as often as they need to, there’s a chance to improve the lives of people in a tangible way and help customers make better financial decisions.
#3. Better business banking
Small-business owners have a list of common questions, and they need help finding the answers. Now imagine if every business had a digital human “advisor” who they can ask questions of any time of day, and with whom they can meet face to face at a milisecond’s notice.
#4. Home loan concierge
Buying a house (particularly if it’s a first home) is an emotional experience, which requires an emotionally engaging form of communication. A digital human can provide so much more than a home loan chatbot. With face-to-face chat, house hunters can get help originating a mortgage, filling out applications and finding answers to their questions through their very own AI mortgage adviser. More than that, a digital human could even provide more loyalty-building, value-add help, including providing tips on moving house or switching on with energy and internet providers – all with the bank’s brand at the forefront of the experience.
In Review: The pros & cons of AI chatbots for the banking industry
OK, so that’s a lot of information to digest. In review, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of AI chatbots for the banking industry.
- Faster customer service
- Scalable to near infinite customers
- Available to users 24/7
- Cost efficiency
- Personalizable in the words it says to customers.
- No real brand identity
- No body language or tone of voice makes communication shallow
- Lack of access to those who can’t, or find it difficult to, type and read
- Studies show chatbots lack friendliness, approachability and emotional connection.
The advantages of digital humans in the banking industry, meanwhile, provide banks and their customers:
- Faster customer service
- Scalable to near infinite customers across any device
- Available to users 24/7
- Cost efficiency
- Complete brand embodiment (design your own employee)
- Personalizable in the words he or she says to customers
- Plus more complete communication through body language and tone of voice
- Greater access to those who can’t, or find it difficult to, type and read
- Emotional connection with customers
But don’t just take our word for it! Let us introduce you to a digital human banking specialist and see for yourself.
AI in Banking Use Cases & Examples for 2020:
The Banking Customer Adviser
A Personalized Experience For Every Banking Customer.
- Deliver personalized wealth management advice, including portfolio or retirement planning
- Facilitate loan origination
- Provide branch assistance in retail banks
The Banking Customer Assistant
Individual Assistance With Everyday Administration.
- Streamline loan origination and on-boarding
- Easy completion of forms via voice
- Triage services delivered with empathy and understanding
The Banking Employee Assistant
Empowering Bank Employees To Deliver Great Outcomes For Customers.
- Provide employees with on-demand training
- HR assistance, including employee wellness
- Augmented training and development programs
Smart Bank Branches
- Banking Experiences That Drive Engagement.
- Integrate UneeQ’s Intelligent Digital Human Platform with banking hardware
- Includes ATMs for a better customer experience
Benefits of Chatbots for Banking: Build Customer Engagement
Customers avoid talking to a person when they feel they might be judged, but they know a Digital Human will never judge them
Digital Humans are always available immediately, regardless of demand
Access thousands of answers, just one question away
Available Anywhere 24/7
Digital Humans are available on any channel: web, mobile, or in branch, even outside of business hours
Frictionless biometric recognition means customers no longer need to verify they’re a customer
Banking Chatbots for Customer Satisfaction & Consistency
Digital Humans never have a bad day or a bad attitude and they always provide consistent answers to your customers
Digital Humans can read emotion in a way other digital channels can’t, using this information to deliver better service
You only need to train your fleet of Digital Humans once, they will always be consistent and never forget
Digital Humans can scale infinitely to meet high demand at low cost
Customer Experience Analytics
Use emotional and conversation analytics to understand what is working with your customers
Achieve What Chat Can’t: Build Brand Value, Loyalty & Trust
Convenient access to an endless number of customers around the clock
Embody Your Brand
Create powerful customer experience that will embody your brand and increase value in a digital world
Differentiate your brand from others in a digital-first world through personalized experiences that increase your NPS
Face-to-face encounters are more effective in building trust and can make all the difference in closing a sale or customers taking your advice
Provide highly customized interactions with customers in real time – creating valuable emotional connection that will drive loyalty